The State Capitol building in Denver, Colorado, is to be one of the first in the country to have a geothermal heating and cooling system fitted.
The $6 million project is being funded through a $4.6 million grant from the US Department of Energy, plus $1.4 million in state participation certificates and a lease-purchase agreement with Chevron Energy Solutions, which will install the system.
According to officials, the facility is expected to save the state about $95,000 in energy costs in the first year alone.
The savings are expected to cover the project’s lease payments to Chevron.
The first phase of installation began last month, drilling a well more than 900 feet down into the Arapahoe Aquifer, and is expected to continue through into the spring of 2011 with heating and air conditioning upgrades and the drilling of a second well.
The project will see water pumped from the underground aquifer, which offers consistent temperatures of 55 degrees, which can be used to heat the building in winter and cool the building in the summer.
Colorado Governor Bill Ritter said the project highlighted the “significant potential” for making use of geothermal energy in Colorado.
He said: “By tapping into the steady temperature below the earth’s surface, we will be able to heat and cool the Capitol building with a reliable and clean source of renewable energy at a reduced cost to the people of Colorado.”
A similar geothermal system was installed at the Governor’s residence last year, which has reduced the building’s natural gas use by 70% and electricity consumption by 15%.